Pastor’s Biography

Reverend Galen “Joe” MacDonald

Reverend Galen “Joe” MacDonald and his wife, Pam, began their tenure with First Presbyterian Church of Livingston in September, 2010. Pastor MacDonald, a native of northern Maine, came to us from the Sandy Lake, PA area. Before he came to us, he served two churches for 12 years in the Sandy Lake area. He has been with First Presbyterian Church in Livingston since 2010. Rev. MacDonald earned bachelor degrees in Bible and Psychology in 1968 from Gordon College and a Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1970. In 1990 he earned a Masters Degree in clinical psychology from Edinboro University.

Let Go

“Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” -Proverbs 3:5-6

Did you know that one of the secrets to amazing power in your life as a believer is simply to let go? That is right. When you take your hands off the wheel of your life and let God take over, that is when God can do more than you could ever ask or think. The story is told of the little boy who had broken his toy car and, believing his dad could fix anything, brought the toy to him and asked his dad to fix it. Just as the father began to fix the car the little boy grabbed it from him and said, “I can do it now,” and proceeded to try to fix it himself. Frustrated because he couldn’t fix it he handed it back to his father and then took it back again. This back and forth scenario continued several times until the little boy cried out in exasperation, “Why can’t you fix my car, Dad?” To which the father replied, “I would have if you had only taken your hands off of it until I was finished fixing it.” How like us with our heavenly Father. We partially turn over our needs and concerns to God, and then take them back again only to find that they got worse. Jesus says, “Trust Me and let go completely. Stop being the control freak of your life and let me have it all and watch what happens.” I love Cory Ten Boom’s statement about this when she said: “I have learned to not grasp on to anything too tightly in this world because it hurts so bad if God has to pry my fingers off of it.” The most painful and frustrating state of being in life is to give our circumstances only part way to God. We end up asking God to bless our mess rather than discovering the sufficiency of God to take over the reigns of life, and surprise us with His perfect will as he guides us in it. So, the words of the day are: LET GO!!

Blessings, Pastor Joe


“Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character” I Corinthians 15:33

I am sure that none of us has escaped people who love to rain on our parades. These are negative, sarcastic individuals who can easily find the wrong in anything that might be good. We need to turn a deaf ear to people like that, or we will run the danger of being a S.N.I.O.P. The acrostic stands for “Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People.” There are always people that want to steal your dream by putting your ideas down or finding fault with anything you want to try or do. They have no capacity to encourage, but are masterful at discouragement. For example, just try something for fun. Walk into any social gathering and state with excitement, “I just bought a (Chevy, Ford or any other model car) and I got a great deal! I only paid ___ dollars for it.” Watch what happens: someone in that crowd will not be able to resist the temptation to say, “Why would you want to buy a piece of junk like that?” (or words to that effect) and, “further more, you got robbed.” They have to say things like that out of jealousy or a know-it-all spirit. They always feel they have a better idea or a better deal somehow. They are somewhat like crabs in a basket. Did you know that if you go out to a beach or a bog to catch crabs that as you catch them you can leave the top off the crab basket? If there is more than one crab and one tries to climb out of his prison (of status quo), the others will pull him back down into the basket.

A young boy from Kansas city loved to draw; he drew everything that caught his attention. One day an elderly gentleman asked him to draw a horse, which he did. The old man was so impressed that he encouraged him to go to work at the local newspaper and draw for their cartoon department. He worked doing this for a short time until the editor of the paper called him into his office and said “You have no talent for what you are doing son, why don’t you go get a job where you can get some real success?” Fortunately, the boy did not allow himself to become a S.N.I.O.P. You know, we will never hear Jesus say, “You are useless and will never be anything in life.” Jesus always affirms that He has a wonderful plan for our lives, and that He proved it by dying on a cross for us. He will always be your greatest cheerleader and, more, your complete resource as you go for your dream. You will always hear Him say, “Go for it, I’ve got your back.” Oh, by the way, the name of that little boy was Walt Disney, but no one remembers the editor who told him he was a failure.

Blessings, Pastor Joe

Troubling Truth

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32

It doesn’t seem to make sense that the very thing that can set us free is the very thing we often find uncomfortable and try to avoid, and that is the truth. Remember the classic line from the movie “A Few Good Men” uttered by Jack Nicholson, who played the part of Col. Nathan Jessup, when he said, “You can’t handle the truth”? Unfortunately that is closer to reality than we want to admit. We want to dance around the pure truth about our lives because the truth is hard to face sometimes. It seems to be easier to avoid, deny, postpone, embellish, or put a biased spin on the truth. It is far easier to play the blame game or make excuses to keep truth from exposing what is behind the various masks we wear (by the way, an excuse was once defined as the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie).

What, then, is so freeing about the truth? In any kind of healing or recovery program, the inevitable first step is to admit the truth about where you really are and face that truth. There is no prison greater than that of self-deception. The ultimate deceiver, Satan, makes every effort to keep us in that prison of excuses, blames and lies. Have you ever “come clean” about something you were guilty of? Regardless of the consequences, there was a relief and a freeing experience because you were tired of covering up the truth and having to add more and more lies to keep it covered. If this touches a nerve for you, let me just say that the “Truth” is not just a state of reality, but a Person whose name is Jesus. He said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is nothing you have done or nothing you could do that would cause Him to love you any more or less than He does at this moment. Let the Truth set you free.

Blessings, Pastor Joe